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A travel & adventure blog written by Portland based blogger Mellanie Paredes, featuring daily travel photos, recipes, and more. Thank you for stopping by!

5 Gluten-Free Backpacking Recipes

5 Gluten-Free Backpacking Recipes

Are you ready to ditch the ramen?

Yeah, neither am I. Although I can count the times that I ate ramen on the Appalachian Trail on two hands,  I do understand the appeal. Ramen is quick, easy, lightweight, salty and cheap--a hiker's dream. After a long day of hiking the last thing you want to do is spend hours making a meal. The 5 recipes below are easy, nutritious and some require no cooking at all! The best part is that you can customize many of these to your needs, taste and budget. 

1. Primal Packs

A while back I created what I like to call, "primal packs." These are little pick me ups that I use when I'm on the go. The best pre workout foods, for me, are ones that are easily digestible. Dates are rich in glucose and go straight to the liver for immediate energy. The body does not need to convert it to a different form of fuel to utilize it.

Ingredients:

  • 12 Large Pitted dates
  • 1/2 Cup walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans
  • 1/2 Pepitas
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil, melted
  • Shredded coconut

At home preparation:

In a food processor or blender, blend all of your nuts until they are crushed, not too long or too fine.

Add your dates and coconut oil and blend until you have a sticky batter.

Separate the batter and create small balls (cut into squares or bars for easy packing) and roll into your shredded coconut.

Refrigerate for two hours. Take them with you!

On the trail:

Eat!

2. Grai-NO-la

This is a simple grain-less granola. Eat as is or pour your favorite milk and you have a two minute meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Pecans
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/4 Cup Walnuts
  • 1/4 Coconut Oil, Melted
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Honey

At home preparation:

Preheat oven to 325F

Roughly chop all of your nuts and place in a large mixing bowl.

All all of the remaining ingredients and mix until all of the nuts are completely coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly.

Place in the over for 20-25 minutes occasionally stirring the mixture.

Let cool and place desired portion in a ziplock, store remainders in an air tight container for future use!

On the Trail:

Eat as is or pack your favorite powdered milk for a quick breakfast. I use this vegan and gluten free coconut milk.

3. Scrambled Eggs and Bacon

Toward the end of my my AT hike I craved warm meals, mostly because temperatures in New Hampshire and Maine were unforgiving. That being said, I didn't want to spend too much time cooking a hot meal in the cold weather. That was the inspiration for this next meal. It's a lazy hiker's version of a classic breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 1, 2oz pouch of OvaEasy Egg Crystals (equivalent to ~5 eggs)
  • 2 Tablespoons of bacon bits, I recommend these if your budget allows
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

At home preparation:

Portion your ingredients in separate bags.

On the trail:

Simply add water to dried crystals and bacon bits to pot, whisk and cook.

*Note: This recipe is very versatile. Depending on what is available to you and what you're willing to carry, you can add some of the following items:

  • Different dried spices
  • Hot sauce
  • Summer sausage
  • Jerky
  • Freeze dried or dehydrated vegetables
  • Wraps, tortillas, english muffin etc
  • Tuna in foil packet
  • Cheese
  • Fresh herbs or vegetables
  • Olive/coconut oil
  • Pepperoni

4. Coconut Almond Butter Chia Pudding

Pumpkin chia seed pudding with macadamia nuts

Pumpkin chia seed pudding with macadamia nuts

I love this recipe. I prepared this on trail for breakfast, lunch or snack. This meal essentially cooks itself. Although my diet on the trail varied--from packing out McDonalds cheeseburgers and eating them the next day (don't judge), to packing out avocados and throwing them in a tuna packet--I became the queen of lazy "cooking." This pudding allowed me to be lazy, without feeling completely gross and lethargic afterward.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup chia seeds
  • 1 Single packet of almond butter or ~1.2 oz
  • 1.5 Tablespoons of shredded coconut
  • Powdered milk. Again, I use vegan/gluten free coconut milk. Portion according to package details, you will need enough to make two cups of milk.
  • Water

At home preparation: 

Portion ingredients into separate ziplock bags. 

On the trail:

At least one hour before you plan on eating, add all ingredients into a leak-proof container. 

Shake vigorously, wait, eat.

*Note: Like the previous recipe, this is super versatile. Don't like almond butter or coconut? No problem! Below are some swaps you can make:

  • Sweetener (coconut sugar, sugar, honey, maple syrup etc)
  • Freeze dried fruits
  • Cocoa powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Almond butter and jelly
  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin spice

5. No Cook Couscous Salad

Yet another lazy meal. You can make this meal hot as well, just cook your couscous according to the package. The beauty of couscous is that it cooks up quickly, hot or cold! Think of this one as a trail cranberry and chicken salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of couscous
  • 1/4 Cup of cranberries
  • 1 foil packet of chicken (or your choice of protein if you want to ditch the water weight)
  • 1 Packet of shelf stable balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/4 Cup of chopped pecans 
  • 1 1/4 Cup of cold water

At home preparation:

Pack couscous and cranberries together in a ziplock bag. Pack pecans separately.

On the trail: 

Add water to bag containing couscous. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Stir in dressing and chicken. Top with pecans.


Remember, these recipes are fully yours to tweak. Not gluten free? Great, substitute your favorite products. Not in your budget? Okay, we can work with that! Opt for non-organic products or buy in bulk and portion yourself. During my thru-hike I scoured online and at my local grocery stores. I rarely paid full price for items that I bought online and I made changes to recipes depending what was on sale. Some of these have a shorter shelf-life, so do keep that in mind. Make it work for your situation and if you have any questions or need help feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email:

AtlasMusingsPDX@gmail.com

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